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by Peter Moskos

April 5, 2008

Fixing Broken Windows in Chicago

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weiss says he plans more foot and bike patrol and an emphasis on "broken windows" policing. This is great news for Chicago... if it actually happens. It's tough to get cops out of cars. But Weiss is certainly saying the right things. This is reported in the Sun Times.

The point of getting tough on the little things isn't just to get tough on the little things for no reason. It's either because the little things are bad (like people pissing on your front door) or because the little things are part of a greater problem (like subway turnstile jumping was in New York City).

Broken Windows is not Zero Tolerance. Broken Windows is a strategy that respects police officers (by encouraging officer discretion) and the community (by listening to the community). Broken Windows is about problem solving and reducing crime. Zero Tolerance is about enforcing rules to increase police "stats."

You can read the original 1982 Broken Windows article here. It's a classic.

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